Saturday, November 23, 2013

Newspaper Tries to Educate Its Readers About Idaho Gold Country

On November 23, 1863, the San Francisco Evening Bulletin reprinted an article from the Boise News in Bannock City (today’s Idaho City). The item began, “Many persons in Oregon, California and elsewhere are at fault as to the particular locality of these mines, as evinced by numerous blunders in letter writing, etc., that have come under our notice.”

The writer proposed to definitively explain where the Boise Basin towns were located, and how one might get to them. He wrote, “Bannock city is situated on a point formed by the junction of Moore’s and Elk creeks. Moore’s creek heads in a spur of the Rocky mountains, and flows nearly in a southeasterly direction, and empties into Boise river from the north side.”

He cataloged several Basin towns known at that time and then said, “Boise city is situated on Boise river, near the mouth of Moore’s or Grimes’s creek (we are not informed as to which name the stream assumes below the junction).”

The creeks join “some 12 or 13 miles below this city.” His distance estimate was high by only a mile or so, and that may reflect changes in the course of the road. Below the junction today, the stream is called Mores Creek. The writer said, “Those curious to know of our whereabouts may easily do so by [first] finding old Fort Boise on the map.”

Portion of Oregon Territory. Map issued by J. H. Colton & Co., New York, ca 1856.
The Hudson’s Bay Company had abandoned its Fort Boise after about 1855, but it still appeared as an important landmark in Oregon Trail guidebooks of the time. Remnants of the fort – which had been damaged by a flood – were located near where the Boise River emptied into the Snake.

With the map in hand, the curious person could “then trace Boise river up 65 miles.” That would have led to a spot about ten miles up-river from the new Fort Boise, and Boise City – neither of which would appear on any map published in 1863, or before. From there, the writer said, “Strike off in a northeasterly direction 30 miles. With that, he figured, the seeker “may very nearly put their fingers on Bannock city.”

The writer’s words provided a remarkably accurate set of directions for finding the town.

References: [B&W]
“Location Of The Boise Mines,” Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California (November 23, 1863).

No comments:

Post a Comment